The magnificent mansion greets me like a guardian I have outgrown, now bearing a blue tint — a hint of sadness, it seems. Bright bougainvilleas no longer line the property. My favorite palm tree no longer perches beside the patio where I played as a child, pretending to be somewhere else, someone else — anywhere but here, anyone but me. But, if I listen carefully, it calls to me, serenading with a song of sorrow, but also, of recovery. Perhaps it sang this song all along, hoping I might hear harmony, even if only as an echo in decades to follow.
If these walls could talk, would they whisper words of wisdom? Lament losses of a family it cradled amid catastrophe? Tell traumatic tales of a tribe that did its best, but battered itself, nonetheless? The formidable fortress fought the good fight against forces of nature, after all, withstanding the likes of Hurricane Dolly. I wonder whether its walls were wounded by the wars waged within.
I am listening, old friend. You carry scars, too, but they do not define you. You still stand tall. You still serve to shelter and seek to soothe the precious people dwelling inside of you, just as I do for the little girl hiding inside of me. The little girl who became someone else, somewhere else and, after all this time, has journeyed back to put to rest the troubles of that family that did its best.
Like you, I have weathered many storms along the way, but I am still standing tall, scars and all; and I am stronger for it.
Like you, I have seen people come and go. Some I do not miss, though I cherish the lessons they taught me along the way. Some I cling to the memory of every day. Some stand beside me knowing, though I don a confident and competent face, occasionally I must embrace that little girl I have learned to listen to and love. Like the Gulf of Mexico, some ebb and flow. But this you should know …
Walls cannot speak of things people refuse to recognize. So, no need to apologize. I realize you did your best, too. The shelter you provided saw me through. And that, old friend, is enough.